Showcase: Holly V Maslen


Showcase: Holly V Maslen

Full time artist Artist & Designer Holly Maslen talks to me about her work, Project Haiku and what inspires her.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Who you are and what do you do?

A: I’m a full time artist living and working on the Isle of Wight. I’ve lived here for fifteen years but grew up in South London. I work exclusively in black and white and my work has a Scandi/Japenese aesthetic. I’ve got two sons who are 17 and 18 and, having just turned 40, I feel a new chapter in my life is about to start now that I am less tied to the routine of bringing up children.


Q: What are you currently working on?

A: I’ve just started a year long challenge called Project Haiku, where I will be writing and illustrating a haiku (14 x 14cm) every day for the whole of 2015. Each haiku is for sale for £10 and £2 from each sale goes to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. I’m very keen on using my work to help raise money for conservation and wildlife.


Q: What is your typical daily work routine?

A: My routine changed quite dramatically last year…through no design of my own. I’ve never been a particularly early riser but last summer I kept waking up at 5h30/6am and surprised myself by feeling totally awake and ready to leap out of bed. So I went with this new found urge and now I seem to have settled into that natural rhythm. If I get up late I realise the day just isn’t long enough to do all the things I want! In the summer I would have a quick cup of tea, go out for a cycle, come back, have coffee and start work. In the winter it’s been much the same, apart from the cycling bit. I tend to walk in the winter and do this in the afternoon after a good five or six hours working. Afternoons are usually for cooking, catching up with jobs and, if I have the energy, then I start work again around 8pm.


Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: I love cooking (and used to run a little pop up French restaurant in my garden). I also enjoy cycling, reading, drinking tea, making fires, listening to loud music, dancing and parties…I love a good party!


Q: What triggers your creative spark and how do you see it through?

A: All sorts of things trigger the creative spark, I think it’s always there, the world as I see it is just one big spark but it’s finding the time to explore all the things I want to explore and express them in an artistic way. People inspire me, having conversations, finding out how people think and feel. Looking out to sea inspires me, sitting in the garden at 5am watching the sun come up or driving at night looking at the stars. I do a lot of thinking whilst I’m driving as it’s the only place I feel truly undisturbed. If I have an idea I scribble it down somewhere but most of the time it’s not practical to start every project I think of, so I leave these scribbled notes all over the place and when the moment comes I resurrect the idea and work on it. There is never a time when I don’t know what to do creatively, there’s always too much to do so I just work through as much as I possibly can.


Q: What tools and mediums do you use?

A: All my work is done with a Papermate Flair, unless I’m painting a mural, in which case I’d use acrylic paint or masonry paint.


Q: What one piece of work best represents you?

A: Probably my books, Escargot Masquerade and Other Stories and Miyoko, because they illustrate how I view the world through the stories and they also contain my art work.


Q: Who and/or what inspires you?

A: Well as I’ve already gabbled on about, the World in general inspires me. As for who….I’d have to say that Kusama is a particularly inspirational individual. I saw her work at Tate Modern about three years ago, and I didn’t want to leave! I’m impressed by the sheer volume of work that she has produced and the fact that her output has been consistent.


Q: What has been your most enjoyable piece of work to date?

A: I would have to say that painting a series of murals at the Isle of Wight Zoo was a great job for a variety of reasons. The location is fabulous, right on the seafront, so I would get down there early and listen to the sea and the roar of the lions whilst painting in the sunshine. I also really enjoyed working on such a large scale, the murals are about 8ft high by 9ft wide. It’s very useful for me to have what is, in effect, a large outdoor gallery of my work because when people on the Island ask what kind of work I do I just ask them if they’ve seen the murals, which most people have as you can’t miss them as you drive past. It’s like having a giant, static portfolio.

zoomural3 zoomural2 zoomural1

Q: What/who would be your ultimate client or dream job?

A: I would love to design an album cover for Led Zep or Pink Floyd…but I’m sure that’s never going to happen. I’d love to design an album cover full stop. So if there are any musicians out there reading this then drop me a line!


Q: If there is one piece of advice you could give to aspiring creatives what would it be?

A: I would say that if you can ditch the day job and manage on a small income it’s worth it because then you can focus fully on the creative experience. You have to be disciplined, work very hard and be prepared for uncertainty, but it is the uncertainty which keeps the creativity going. If you have nothing to fall back on then you have to make your art work for you, it’s what keeps you driven to succeed!

Showcase: Veronica Rowlands

Showcase: Veronica Rowlands

London based Artist & Designer Veronica Rowlands talks to me about her work, her love for exploring the back streets of central London and what inspires her.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Who are you & What do you do?

My name is Veronica Rowlands & I’m a London based Artist & Designer, whose currently being represented by Debut Contemporary Gallery in Notting Hill. I have a solo exhibition of my work at Free Space Gallery (Kentish Town) from 2nd February-3rd April 2015 (P.V 6th Feb 6.30-9pm)


What is your typical daily work routine?

I normally wake up early and aim to spend one hour on my social media pages & emails before I start the fun stuff & commissions, I also work as a workshop facilitator & tutor so challenge myself to get a certain amount finished before going out to teach and in the evenings I love to paint and create my own work.


What do you do in your spare time?

I never seem to have a great deal of free time, when I do I love my visits to London’s Museums & Art Galleries (I’m completely in love with the Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green) & Pollock’s Toy Museum (Goodge Street) I also love to explore the backstreets of central London (there are so many little treasures to be found).


What triggers your creative spark and how do you see it through?

Going out and seeing things, Art Exhibitions, unusual ornaments/décor and Vintage Dolls (naturally)

Tree Of Life & Growth Orange

What tools and mediums do you use?

It varies depending on what I’m working on; Acrylics & Oil pastels are my favorites, however when I’m creating more intricate pieces I like to draw with fountain pen and work into on using Photoshop & Illustrator.

I studied Surface Pattern Design at University and so love to use Textile processes wherever possible, I especially like to embroider & bead onto my canvas paintings.


What one piece of your work best represents you?

I’d say all of my personal Artworks do this, as I am inspired from my surroundings and Dolls are always the main muse, If I had to choose I’d say my signature ‘Space Doll’ Illustration which is brand logo.

Space Doll

Who and/or What inspires you?

My work is inspired from Vintage & Ethnic Dolls, I have always grown up surrounded by my Mum’s collections of these and they instantly evoke feelings of childhood & nostalgia which I wish to share with the viewer.


What has been you most enjoyable piece of work to date?

I enjoyed designing the blog logo for Charity ‘Healthy Planet’: I also get great joy out of creating individual, personalized, Illustrated wedding commissions.


What/Who would be your ultimate client or dream job?

I have several: I’ve always loved the idea of creating quirky Men’s suit/coat lining prints for Paul Smith, flamboyant prints to be used onto ‘Irregular Choice’ shoes or designs onto Anthropologie’s ceramic & home-ware range.


If there is one piece of advice you could give to aspiring creatives, what would it be?

Just keep going & don’t be hard on yourself, it’s hard work but if you believe in your work you’ll get where you want to be eventually!

Veronica Rowlands - Fashion Doll with Deer

Veronica Rowlands - Fashion doll with tree

You can see more of Veronica’s work and also follow her work over on the following links! 

Shop     Blog     Facebook    Twitter

Don’t forget she has a solo exhibition of her work at Free Space Gallery (Kentish Town) from 2nd February-3rd April 2015 (P.V 6th Feb 6.30-9pm).

Has the business card become obsolete?

The internet has changed the way we use business cards. Sharing contact information is not the main priority anymore since we have social media and Linkedin to do this for us. Today the business card introduces your brand, acts as a marketing opportunity and is a strong first impression.

The business card has not become obsolete in the digital age. We simply need to understand when and how to use it appropriately.

Think Quality not Quantity

You need to take the time to engage with potential business contacts and build relationships at networking and conference events. If you are in a rush to hand out all your business cards to as many contacts as possible instead of engaging, people are less inclined to value you as a potential business contact. Physical communication creates a longer lasting impression.

A striking business card and a one to one engagement of sharing it creates an experience that the likes of social media and linkedin cannot replicate.

Make it unique

Separate yourself from your competitors. Make your card visually interesting and stand out from the crowd. Look at card stocks, different finishes or even add a splash of colour. You can have a unique business card what ever your budget.

Attractive Design

Try to get your business card designed for you by a designer. They will work one to one with you and make your business card relevant and fitting within your brand. There are online sites offering standard templates which you can slightly customise to a certain extend but it will not be as personal and it will not be unique. A designer will make sure it is compatible with your business and website keeping brand consistency.

Your logo serves as your brand

Is it relevant? Your business card holds little information. Typically you name, contact details and a logo. You need to be able to read the services that you are providing clearly. Think that each and every time you hand out one of your business cards you are giving out a potential marketing opportunity and introducing your brand to a potential client.

Lastly remember to follow up after exchanging your business card, this is where the internet jumps in. You cannot rely solely on your business card to do all the work for you. You have built the start of a connection, your business card has introduced the brand and a first impression. Follow up a week or so later with a short email or by connecting via social media or you risk your connection going cold.

The Money saving logo

So you have taken the plunge and decided to start your own business venture. You have it all planned out down to the last detail, you just need to get your logo designed so it looks like a professional business. You type in ‘cheap logo design’ into google and bam your search is full of websites and companies that can offer ‘professional custom logo design’ for £25! Sounds great right? Not really, no. It can actually be more damaging to your business and here is why.

If you have only paid a fiver* for your logo design there is a very high chance that other people have also done the same thing and received a very similar design. You might be saving money short term, however cheap logo design has very little thought, originality and most importantly, impact. The purpose of a logo is to represent a business. If it looks the same as someone else’s, it has failed and will just blend in with all the other generic logo designs.

Quality design takes time and time equals money.

A professionally designed logo attracts attention, and leaves an everlasting impression in people’s minds. It will be original and unique to your business which will benefit you in the long run. They will take the time to understand whats unique about your brand and do the research involved in order to produce you a personal, unique & custom design.

You are unable to get this same quality of work when you are paying such a low price for a logo. The designer working on this for you will most likely also be working on a multiple of other logo designs in order to pay his bills. This is when we start to see generic work being produced as the designer does not have the time to work one on one with the client and he wont have the time to research and understand your brand.

People like to flaunt good logo design

When people start to appreciate a brand the logo essentially becomes a form of free advertising. It could be across all your products and a cheap logo will not stand the test of time. You will most likely end up within 1 – 2 years having your poor logo redesigned costing you double. Basically you get what you pay for.

Cheap logo design is not original and the majority of the time it does not look professional.

You need to invest into your Logo as it is a very important part of your brands identity. In order to achieve this you really do need to pay a professional designer to spend the time researching, creating concepts and making refinements. It will be worth it in the end once you have a unique, professional and timeless logo representing your business.

Back in the studio

Happy new year! I hope you have had a lovely festive break. December was a busy month for me with the run up to christmas and finishing deadlines with clients.

The first week back in the studio has been really productive and hopefully will be an insight of whats to come in 2015 for the studio. Many client meetings took place with exciting up and coming projects which I will be involved with over the next month.

I have another lovely bride to be booked in with me for her wedding stationery. She is getting married in a beautiful setting in Suffolk and has a fabulous rustic theme. With the design just signed off I will look forward to sharing the finished product with you along with all the new projects this year. Its been an exciting start to 2015, below are some images of what I was working on at the end of last year.

Get in touch if you wish to discuss a similar project!

peacockframed                   Bespoke Peacock Wedding Stationery designed for Amanda Crowe.

presentation                   Presentation designed and updated for Cask International for Forty8Creates


Logo designed for Client with Forty8Creates

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